This is probably fake, but it's fun anyway.
When everyone loves something, I get twitchy.
This usually pops most in movies and television. I've never seen "Titanic", missed "Forest Gump" in the theaters, took a big miss on "Indiana Jones", "Jaws", "E.T.", most of the recent "Star Wars" movies, etc., etc. I've never watched "American Idol" or "Survivor" or "Everybody Loves Raymond" or "CSI", "Law and Order", and all of those other Must See Shows.
If something reaches a certain critical weight of acceptance, I get uncomfortable with the idea of liking it Just Like Everybody Else.
In politics, I'm one of the 10% that always opposed the current President, even when he was riding high after 9/11. I never liked or trusted the guy, always wondered how a guy in a cave could really have pulled it off without help or breathtaking incompetence, and knew that in the long run, we were probably in greater danger from oil companies than we were from suicidal extremists. The oil companies just seemed, you know, more persistent and professional about the whole thing. I always opposed the war in Iraq, and even questioned how effective a war with Afghanistan would be. It seemed like we were escalating criminals to martyrs, creating the next batch with our presence, and turning what could have been a police matter into an excuse for Eternal War, rather then getting the hell off oil so that we could wash our hands of the whole cursed area.
Clearly, I am not a Patriot.
So when Patriot Fan, in his never-ending quest to make everything in the NFL be about His Struggle, pulls out the You Liked Us In 2002 And You Only Hate Us Now Because You're Jealous card...
Um, well, Sadly No.
The 2002 Patriots got to the Super Bowl on a gift, a play that, regardless of the rule book, had never been called that way before, especially not in the final minutes of a playoff game. And if the play had been reversed, and if it were Rich Gannon shaking off the apparent fumble to lead the Raiders to a last-minute win, I'm pretty sure that it would have gone into the NFL history books for what it was -- as an epic screw job. But since the Patriots were a feel-good story and the Oakland Raiders are the closest thing the NFL has to a Designated Heel, no one really seemed to mind.
At the time of Tuckgate, I was living in Northern California, having been out there for a couple of years after a move from Philadelphia. I didn't know that many Raiders fans -- the area is full of transplants, so everyone you meet is originally from somewhere else -- but having moved out of the Philly area before the Iverson/McNabb Resurrection, I hadn't been in an area in Playoff Fever for a while. I was pulling for the Raiders, maybe only about 55-45, but after Tuckgate, it became more like 70-30.
The Pats then continued to pull off wins where they really weren't demonstrably better than their opponent, building a bandwagon of support. Meanwhile, one of the best teams of the era, the St. Louis Rams, a team that you could really enjoy just watching if you only ignored the existence of Brenda Warner and Georgia Frontiere, defeated my Eagles at home in a game where the Eagles played really well. Just like in the Super Bowl loss to the Patriots, the Eagles took away everything but the ground game, McNabb played at a high level, and afterwards, there was a feeling that while my team didn't win, at least I knew they had fallen to greatness.
And then the Super Bowl happened, and the Patriots won and the US invaded and my television was filled with Happy War and the Heroes of 9/11 and Those Oh So Wonderful Patriots Who Refused To Be Introduced As Individuals.
And all of it struck me as complete bullcrap then, and complete bullcrap now.
So no, Pats Fan, everyone didn't love you in 2002. But while we're continuing to talk about you, your favorite and only subject...
Look, here's a dirty little secret about sports fans that only fantasy sports and betting tends to alleviate; if my team doesn't win the championship, on some level, I don't really give a damn who does. I have no back-up team that I root for. I only have individuals that I root against, and if enough of them are on one team, that swells to critical mass level and we've got a whole team to hate.
In my life as a football fan, Pittsburgh, Denver, San Francisco, Dallas, Washington and the Giants have won multiple Super Bowls. The Cowboys employed showboats and druggies. The Giants come with Giants Fan, who's about as much fun to be near as root canal. Denver had John Elway, his never-ending teeth, and their leg-whipping offensive linemen. Washington's fans are likely employed by the government and hate on the three parts of the District that aren't safe and white.
I hated all of those teams, dully, because they were not My Team and they got to experience multiple years of joy, whereas my team always ended the year with a loss. (To be sure, I was always soft on the Niners for beating the Cowboys and just being fun to watch. But I digress.)
Only New England, sweet, precious, can't stop looking in its own navel and insisting that everyone else come look and confirm that it's an innie or an outie New England...
Only New England, with its constant puling that they've been oppressed while being, on any objective level, ridiculously blessed when it comes to Hall of Fame players and stadiums to watch them in...
Only this area, this cauldron of media wanking, this bastion of pants-wetting Lite Brite Phobes and spoiled children... only you, really, have reached This Level Of Ire. (And yes, I know, it's all because the Internet makes the eternal bleatings of New England Fan a click away at any moment. The sports blogosphere has become one huge bad tooth.)
And no, it doesn't stop just because you've spit the bit in this epic and wonderful fashion, and have become the Manning Family Bitch.
The Patriots could lose every game next year, and I wouldn't feel an ounce of sympathy for their fans.
They could have their Hall of Fame coach, cheat and adulterer gunned down in a lover's spat in a bar, and the only thing that would pass through my consciousness is a vague dread of hearing the week's worth of eulogies.
Their baseball team could go 80-plus years without a championship. and that'd be Just Peachy, really.
Their basketball team could have its first round picks die of drug overdoses while shooting each other, and I'd consider that all to be Karmic Payback.
And maybe then, just maybe, New England Fan would... drum roll, please...
SHUT THE HELL UP ABOUT THEIR COLLECTIVE FAN EXPERIENCE.
Because, um, the rest of us
DO NOT CARE, WILL NOT CARE, AND HAVE OUR OWN CRAP TO DEAL WITH, THANK YOU.
Thank you, and good night.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
This is probably fake, but it's fun anyway.